Keeper of The Fruit Loops

The Day I Broke The Baby Monitor

April 24, 2014

Having a child come into your life is like having Toys R Us, the baby section of Target and the entire baby food section of your grocery store dump their items right into your family room.

There are onesies (how can one baby need 93 onesies?), containment items, (exersaucers, bouncy seats, swings, pack and plays, strollers, car seats…need I go on?),  breast pump accessories (I’m sorry, breast pumps cost HOW MUCH, exactly??) and entertainment devices (brain stimulating, BPA free, multicolored, Gwyneth Paltrow approved rattles, chew toys and some giraffe named Sophie).  Friends buy you cute decorations for your nursery, adorable little outfits that will last for 46 seconds because babies grow so fast and if you are lucky, someone remembers to buy you a little something special to wear when your are no longer sporting a watermelon.

There is, however, one item that trumps all of the above.  One item that, without it, you cannot claim the title of Most Watchful Parent EVUUR:  The Baby Monitor.

The women of our generation have become obsessed with ways to monitor their children when they are out of sight and pretending to be napping.  In my new mom day, 11 years ago, monitors were pretty basic versions of walkie talkies.  And, on clear, dark evenings, you could hear your neighbors and local truckers, too, so that was a fun bonus.  Nowadays, they are WiFi friendly, full HD screen situations that have an iPhone app to control them remotely.  I would literally lose my mind if I had to set up one more wireless device in this house, much less when I was sleep deprived and leaking milk.

But, when Fruit Loop #1 was on the way, we dutifully bought a monitor because that’s what you do:  you monitor your child’s Every. Single. Move.  We set it up.  We tested it around the house.  We made sure we could get reception in every single square foot of our abode.  People who used rabbit ears for their televisions in the 1960s spent less time making sure NBC came in clearly.  We made sure that at any given spot in our house, our child would be HEARD.

About three weeks after Fruit Loop #1 arrived, my mother in law came to visit.  At first, she quietly watched me take the monitor with me everywhere (strapped to my waistband, of course!). She said nothing when I heard a noise and would run to check on him.  She said nary a word when I’d jump up from dinner to make sure the gurgle I heard during a nap wasn’t actually my child choking on his three week old saliva.  And, God bless her, she zipped a lip when I insisted that it sit right next to my head in the middle of the night so that I could dash down the hall at 2 am to make sure his screaming was met with a fresh, milk filled boob.

She did, very gracefully and with as much tact as she could muster in front of her seemingly crazed and sleep deprived daughter in law, say “You REALLY don’t think you’ll hear this level of screaming in a quiet house at 2 am?  I think you should give yourself a little more credit, sweetie”.  At the time she made the statement, Fruit Loop #1 was screaming so loudly that he was purple and scrunched up. He looked like a Purdue Oven Stuffer Roaster Raisin, actually.

But, nope.  I was stubborn. The Monitor was my friend. The Monitor understood.

And so The Monitor became a part of my anatomy on a daily basis.  We were BFFs, Monitor and I.

Until Fruit Loop #1 was five months old.  That’s when The Monitor and I had a falling out.

What this new mom didn’t realize is that The Monitor gave me PTSD:  Post Traumatic Screaming Disorder.  The Monitor made it nearly impossible to get one single minute of quiet and I was starting to resemble one of Pavlov’s dogs only instead of salivating, my boobs would leak.  And, when you are trying to let your child cry it out for nap time, The Monitor brings you to a special place in hell.  I felt trapped by The Monitor.

One afternoon in late spring, Fruit Loop #1 and I were in the middle of a Come To Jesus over nap time.  He was not a fan and I was.  He was not going to win and I was.  We were at a standoff, him and I, that afternoon.  So, armed with The Monitor set to vibrate and my mom on the phone, I sat outside on my front porch to try and escape the sounds of blood curdling, “you clearly hate me and my need to be on you at all times” screaming emanating from the Peter Rabbit nursery.  My mom chatted away and that blessed Monitor bounced itself all over the side table next to me.  The little red decibel lights on it were going berserk.  The vibrating was constant.  The Monitor was yelling, “I can see you ignoring him!  I can see you ignoring him!”.

The Monitor pleaded with me.

The Monitor shook, rattled and rolled to get my attention.

Monitor was yelling at me.

But I held firm.  Nap time was not a democracy.  Nap time was a dictatorship.

55 minutes in, The Monitor was dying a slow painful death.

The Monitor was not pleased.

The Monitor started smoking.  And making awful noises.  And vibrating sloooowly.

The Monitor was throwing a tantrum, too.

Then, all of a sudden, as The Monitor left this world, there was silence.  Sweet, beautiful, “you sexy bitch where have you been for five months??” silence right there on my porch.

No crying.  No vibrating.  No mean little red lights glaring at me and my selfish mom ways.

Just beautiful, quiet, silence.

Which, I enjoyed.  For four seconds.  Before I dashed inside to make sure Fruit Loop #1 was okay.

But, when I got inside, it was quiet there, too.  Like The Monitor, Fruit Loop #1 had decided to give up and go to sleep for THREE SOLID HOURS.

The kid had literally cried The Monitor to death.

I’m not gonna lie:  I was okay with that.  

Amazingly, we survived the rest of his toddlerhood without The Monitor and when Fruit Loop #2 arrived, my superhuman, mad crazy mom ears managed to serve me well.  I *did* hear the blood curdling screaming at 2 am.  I *did* hear when a certain someone was sneaking around her room to play instead of nap.  I *did* hear when they fell out of bed, needed a drink or threw up all over themselves.  And, I *did* hear the sweet sounds of “Mama” early in the mornings and the sounds of “I not be in time out annnnnymore!”.  I heard it all.

I didn’t need The Monitor to tell me my fruit loops needed me.  I just knew.  Because moms know that stuff.

And I know a certain mother in law who would never, ever say I told you so…..



34 Responses

  1. omg… To leave a child scream for almost an hour. A helpless infant who needed warmth and affection was left alone. And the almost boasting that your kid screamed for so long they broke the monitor? I am a mother of a 4 and 2 year old. Yes, infants are needy. They need their mothers. But it was not their choice to be brought into this world, it was ours. And we need to own that responsibility and give them the love and nurture they need that will set the emotional stage for the rest of their lives. Just so sad…

        1. Tiffany, while I’m sure some aspire to your level of Momness, that kind of swift and blanketed judgement you’re so eager to pass really is breath-taking, there are others who…wait for it…tend to agree with the cry it out method. The child didn’t break the monitor; the batteries obviously went dead. The fact that you read this post and instantly thought “Sonofabitch! This horrible mom abandoned her child, starving and freezing,” makes me sad for you. Sorry you’re on an island while the rest of us are high-fiving in solidarity. It takes a village, but every village needs an idiot.

          P.S. You’ve insulted my friend with your comments. In case you couldn’t tell.

    1. Tiffany, you poor thing. I see an early stroke in your future. Maybe about the time they hit their teens. I need to ask my adult children if they were traumatized by their babyhood as monitors hadn’t been invented yet. They SEEM to like me, but are maybe only waiting for me to kick off to get the inheritance?

    2. This is actually quite comical that you’re really that dense. I have 2 children, both CIO.. Now that they go to sleep at night with no crying, and guess what?! This one’s gonna be a really big shocker so hold on to your high horse with BOTH hands, THEY WAKE UP EVERY MORNING, SMILING AND HAPPY! Oh and well rested! Isn’t that a novel concept?! My parents CIO with me, and in NO way do I feel, act, or believe I’m helpless. I’m 24 with 2 kids, buying my home ALONE, and paying off my car! Wow!! It’s amazing! You’re a judgemental idiot! Congratulations you win the bitch award of the day! Everyone feel free to applaud! Have a nice evening sweetie, I’ll think slippery thoughts for you, maybe that large tree branch in your rectum will dislodge and remove itself.


        I’ve got numerous studies showing cio is detrimental to infants if you’re interested. You must not put your children in car seats either since you probably weren’t. But hey, you survived, right? Research showing the safety provided by car seats is so ridiculous. And the people that follow it are comically dense.

        Congratulations on buying a house all alone?!? I’m kinda surprised you didn’t tell me your salary as well, which I’m not really sure what this has to do with anything. Except maybe demonstrate how cio manifest in adults ….. It’s not helplessness, which you apparently think it is, it’s insecurity. “insecure individuals, on the other hand, tend to be unsettled in their relationships, displaying anxiety (manifesting as possessiveness, jealousy, and clinginess) or avoidance (manifesting as mistrust and a reluctance to depend on others). “. :-/

        So your kids smiling in the morning isn’t indicitive of what cio has potentially done to them.

        1. Honey I’m 24. I had a car seat you dense poor excuse for a human being. Keep in mind, YOUR way isn’t the only way. The ironic part of it all is your examples of “learned helplessness” are behaviors your comments are screaming at the rest of us. I feel no need to explain myself to you, but since the internet offends your fragile frame of mind, maybe you should just stay off of it, or hey, here’s an idea!! Put your big girl panties on, go helicopter parent your children, and quit judging everyone else on the way they do things. *whispers* it’s called being a grown up! Take care, and take some midol too. Good night!

          1. Whoa… That’s a lot of anger. i didn’t say my way was the only way. I did say research has shown cio is damaging. I’m sorry you’re having a hard time coming to terms with facts. That in combination with the anger… You may want to see someone about that….

  2. You’re kidding?! As much as infants need mom’s. …mom’s need space. And your baby isn’t going to think you’ve abandoned him if you let him cry. In fact it might save you from raising one of the entitled brats in this world today. I applaud this mama for taking back her life! And shame on you for bringing her down.

    1. If you need space as a mother… Get a babysitter. You obviously need to do some research on the subject, because yes, infants will think they are abandoned. And an entitled brat at 5 months old? Are YOU freaking serious?!?!? If you need to take your life back from your child so badly, you shouldn’t have chosen to be a mother in the first place.

      1. I’m assuming you either aren’t a mother or that your mom didn’t tell you it’s not nice to be an internet troll. Namaste and have a nice day, Tiff.

        1. I am a mother, so I know exactly how detrimental this advice can be for a first time mom… Because I would have completely taken it with my first child. This comment wasn’t directed at you… Hence it being in reply to Christine’s comment about responding to a crying 5 month old would produce entitled children. Basically in response to her trolling my comment. But your comment does reveal a lot, thank you.

          1. Tiffany….how dare you comment on here whIle you should be attentively watching your children…don’t you know that seeing their parents on a phone contributes to anxiety? My point is…if your kid is alive at the end of the day you’re doing good. Now people FUCK OFF and leave this mom who is doing the best she can be alone. I for one have done CIO five times and NONE of my kids feel unloved.

          2. If just keeping children alive is your goal… Then your expectations are very low. And this advice, in this case, will work well for you. Most parents, however, want to raise emotionally healthy, contributing members of society. And if that’s your goal, this is not the route to take.

            And eek… Language?

        1. Thanks Simona, I still have to improve photographic technique and invest in the equipment best su0tid&#823e; But, when a photographer looks around the heart, I think her eye make more than one objective.

  3. What you taught the child was learned helplessness. It’s a thing, look it up. There are multiple studies on the Cry It Out Method that prove that there is no such thing as self soothing, but learned helplessness. That the child stops crying, but there cortisol (stress hormone) level stays at the same level even though they are not crying. There was a study done with a dog in a metal cage. They would send electricity through the cage to shock the dog. He would yelp and jump to get out. After a while of doing this, the dog learned he could not get out. He just laid their, even though they kept shocking him. They then opened the top of the cage so he would have an opening. They shocked again. Nada. He didn’t move, or yelp. Just laid there. Again and again. He didn’t even try to escape. He learned, helplessness. This is what someone does to their child. That is not right. In the future, will your child come to you?Confide in you? Tell you the truth? There is so much that CIO teaches children, that I can’t even begin to discuss here. Studies prove it. I beg of you, anyone DONT let you children CIO

  4. Agree the CIO method just makes me feel pain uncomfortable. Sure when they’re tired I’ve let them whinge themselves to sleep but distress is a completely different matter I just couldn’t bring myself to do that. Funny enough I still manage to have a life just not to the detriment of my child!

  5. I don’t understand how you can be so proud about the fact that you left your baby screaming for almost an hour.

    It’s not the monitor that died a slow painful death, it’s your child’s hope that you will come and do your job as a mother, that’s what died.

    Vile creature, you shouldn’t be allowed to have children.

    1. I’m sorry, Mat with one T (what’s that about, huh?), I couldn’t read your whole comment because I was busy watching my kids run with scissors while I simultaneously did a line of coke. Vile creature, you shouldn’t be allowed to comment on blogs. Namaste and Have a Blessed Day, Mat with One T (for real, add the extra T).

    2. Mat!!

      You’re a gem. Who probably lives with 23 cats and eats Hot Pockets for dinner.

      If you’ve ever anything worthwhile to contribute, might I suggest joining the other people who hate themselves over in the Huffington Post comments section? I think you’ll find your soulmate there.

  6. What you did for your child was make him PASS OUT for 3 hours to CONSERVE ENERGY and NOT DIE. Look it up. Your NAMASTE responses to others are quite ironic, considering how you treat your children. You should be ashamed to be GLOATING about how you left your innocent, helpless child screaming for his mother, who is his whole world, to fend for himself.

  7. Props to you, the Keeper of the Fruit Loops! I’m sorry you’re experiencing so much negativity from your (entertaining!) post. We all have different parenting styles and refer to many credible sources for advice and our Mama Bear sides can show their faces when we feel someone disagrees with our methods. There’s obviously no one perfect method to parenthood besides Love and Keep on Truckin!
    My family didn’t use baby monitors and all babies were/ are checked to make sure their not wet, twisted, hungry, or have wedgies. If everything is in place, they are often left to cry for a bit and they usually fall right asleep. Crying is normal and healthy! As one of several asthmatics in the family, my mother was practically thrilled at the sound of a crying baby – that meant that lungs were working at capacity for a change!
    Keep on keeping on, Keeper! And keep the posts coming! Many of us love the encouragement!

  8. I always find it very interesting how people can make such a huge judgement on very little information. Have any of you met the keeper? I haven’t. The keeper do you know any of these people? Is it possible that the things that the Keeper wrote pushed all of your buttons because of your own shit? Maybe take some time to breath and think about why The Keepers blog post bothers you so deeply that you have to then lash out really harshly. This is not about The Keeper. This is about you, the reader,, and your own fears. How those fears came about is your business and yours to analyze but try not to project them all over people around you. It seems to me that The Keeper is just writing about her experience. You don’t have to agree with it. Leave it alone if you don’t. Walk away. Attend to your own shit. Find another blog to read that mirrors your beliefs. Spreading negativity is not productive AT ALL and it hurts people. You’re concerned about The Keeper hurting her child and yet you turn around and thoughtlessly set out to judge criticize and possible hurt another human being and to what end? You think The Keeper is now been verbally punished enough to understand the error of her ways and will turn around and write a blog post about how grateful she was that a select few of you were so good enough to teach her how terribly wrong she was and not to mention how very very bad a person she is? Yeah I think I hear her typing that up right now.

    1. Nope, I have no personal fears of leaving my children to cry. I was never left to cry, so this isn’t projection. This is about education. This woman can obviously raise her children however she sees fit. But the moment she steps out into the Internet and writes a post advocating a practice that has been time and time again proven to emotionally hurt children, then pins it on Pinterest, we must advise new parents you might actually follow this advice to not. When you know better, you do better. We, as a society, must promote good parenting, as it affects us all. I will speak out about spanking and abuse as well. These children cannot defend themselves.

      1. Hey guys! Tiffany’s back!!

        Spanking and abuse are hardly the same thing as letting a kid cry himself to sleep. When you know better, you do better; but when you make a mountain out of a molehill based on limited research as opposed to accounting for all variables and factors pertaining to raising children, which–I’m sure you know–is best done on a case-by-case basis, you’re not doing better. You’re causing alarm where there doesn’t need to be alarm. But by all means, keep coming back here and helping The Keeper’s engagement. Her Google analytics thanks you.

      2. I didn’t know that posting a blog about your experience in life is synonymous with; “Hey world I am here for you to treat me like shit for the things that I have experienced and believe in. Please judge me and make me feel bad”
        Ok so speaking of healthy behavior,- it might have been healthier if you had posted a comment that expressed a some level of flexibility. Instead there is a deeply implied judgement that polarizes any healthy discussion about ‘crying it out’ vs. ‘attachment parenting’.
        This could have been a more productive discussion and perhaps your voice on the matter could have had a meaningful impact. Instead it has created a barrier to the change that you are so hoping to effect.
        The fears lie in the fact that unless you cloak your belief in absolutes, anger and judgment then your point won’t be heard, that your voice won’t be taken seriously, that chaos will reign through out the universe. Control is fueled by fear. The opposite of fear is trust. Trusting in your own self. Trusting that you don’t have to bully anyone to be heard.
        What I heard in The Keepers blog post is a very human experience of parenting. When I read her blog I was present with HER experience- when I read it- HER humanity and I so appreciate HER willingness to be authentic regardless of what others might feel or believe about her and regardless of what my own personal parenting beliefs are. It’s vulnerability that most people fear expressing for the very reasons you have demonstrated and yet I do believe that The Keeper will continue to post blogs. Right Keeper? Right?

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